The Jesuits today launch a free “Jesuit Pilgrimage” smartphone app. It aims to give an intimate experience of the locations that helped make Ignatius of Loyola a saint and led to the writing of the Spiritual Exercises, a manual to help people discover God in a personal and passionate way. “This app has the same purpose” said Fr John Dardis, SJ, Director of the Jesuit General Curia Communications Office.
The app is available in English, Spanish, Italian and French, both for Android and iOS.
Through maps, 360-degree photographs, audio and text meditations, users can visit each of the transformational stops on Ignatius’ journey, pause in wonder and let those places speak to him/her as they did to St. Ignatius 500 years ago.
Having an app means you can make a pilgrimage from any part of the world. Of course, it also means that, if you are lucky enough to be able to travel, you also get the benefit of on-site guidance for each of the 44 places covered.
“Ignatius’ story of conversion can impact all of us” – says Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, the General Superior of the Society of Jesus. “It is my hope that the app helps people find inspiration and that it can renew their relationships. Through this app we desire to show the way to God for so many who are searching for God today hungry for meaning and liberation and a different way to live”.
The transformation of St. Ignatius of Loyola from sinner to Saint was a long one. It was an adventure in spiritual searching. Ignatius struggled, fought, dreamed, and eventually reached deep places within himself. He discovered the ability to also reach out heal others.
Now anybody with a mobile device can experience that same journey.
With the “Jesuit Pilgrimage” visitors can experience the sights and sounds of each location. They’ll be able to meditate with Jesuits around the world as they listen to guided prayers from Ignatian sites as diverse as Paris, Antwerp, London, Rouen, Montserrat, Jerusalem, and Rome, just to name a few. Future updates will include more Ignatian Places in Europe and other continents.
“I’m thrilled that we can offer this experience to millions of Catholics who would never be able to go on a real pilgrimage due to health or financial limitations” – says Fr. Vivian Richard SJ, from the Jesuit General Curia Communications Office. “The COVID-19 pandemic meant none of us could leave our house. But it was during the pandemic that the idea for the app was born. We want people to discover God in a personal and passionate way. That is why the Jesuits exist. This app will be a great spiritual tool for the sick, elderly, and those like my family in India, who can’t easily afford to visit Ignatian places.”
Fr. Vivian believes that the app can also transform a casual vacation trip into something deeper. Will Pope Francis be using this app? “We’re not sure if he is a big app user… but we certainly hope he’ll try this one. Consider it as our Christmas gift for him” – concludes Fr. Vivian.